that have happened in Ukraine today
Militants Breach the Ceasefire; a Meeting of the Contact Group Requested
Rebels have breached the ceasefire in the ATO area; a Ukrainian stronghold has been shelled with anti-tank guided missiles near the settlement of Troitske, the ATO press-centre posted on Facebook.
The OSCE mission in Ukraine was informed about the incident immediately.
"Now we are working towards organising an emergency meeting of the trilateral contact group," the General Staff announced.
The headquarters also stressed that it had been for the first time since September 30 that rebels violated the Minsk agreements.
USA: Russia Deployed to Syria 1,000 Marines and the Newest Tanks
“Russia’s build-up in Syria now included a “considerable and growing” naval presence, long-range rockets and a battalion of ground troops backed by Moscow’s most modern tanks the US ambassador to NATO, Douglas Lute, said when speaking in Brussels.
He said the Kremlin seemed to be intent on forging a new counter-coalition to the western-Gulf axis, bringing together the Russians, Iranians, Iraqis and Hezbollah behind Assad.
Moscow had managed a “quite impressive” military deployment over the past week to its Syrian naval base in Tartus and its army base in Latakia, Lute said.
“There is a considerable and growing Russian naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, more than 10 ships now, which is a bit out of the ordinary,” he told a news briefing.
“The recent Russian reinforcements over the last week or so feature a battalion-size ground force … There is artillery, there are long-range rocket capabilities, there are air defence capabilities,” Lute said. A battalion is typically made up of about 1,000 soldiers.
ATO forces Preparing for the Second Stage of Withdrawal
Despite Violated Agreements
"Preparation works for the next stage of withdrawal from the demarcation line are continuing in the Lugansk direction.
We mainly mean 85-mm anti-tank D-48 and D-44 cannons," an ATO spokesman in the Lugansk region, Lt. Col. Ruslan Tkachuk, reported.
According to him, OSCE monitoring officers continue the process of verification, and are checking individual factory numbers and sites T-64 and T-72 tanks were repositioned to.
At the same time, he recalled that rebels had breached the armistice near Troitske, as they fired two antitank guided missiles. Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded as a result.
Tkachuk also added that insurgents continued to exercise on training grounds in the Lugansk region.
Opinion Poll: 72% of Russians Support the RF Bombing Syria
More than two thirds of Russians - 72% to be exact - approve RF air strikes in Syria justifying their action by ISIS threats according to an opinion poll conducted by "Levada-Centre".
However, only 63% of Russians welcome France's attacks in Syria.
At the same time, one third of the Russian population (28%) oppose Russia's military participation in that conflict.
However, 78% of respondents do not rule out a possibility that the Syrian conflict may turn into a "new Afghanistan" for the country.
ATO Headquarters not Suspending the Withdrawal of Weapons
Amid Attacks Near Troitske
No decision on the suspension of the implementation of the Minsk agreements has been made because of the incident in Troitske. The resumption of the withdrawal of weapons with a calibre of less than 100-mm will completely depend on a resolution of the trilateral contact group, a spokesman for the Presidential Administration on ATO issues, Andriy Lysenko, told journalists on Thursday.
"Due to the fact that such an impudent provocation took place in Troitske, we were forced by circumstances to urgently convene a meeting of the trilateral contact group in order to discuss this incident and take some practical measures to prevent such incidents from reappearing in the future," he said.
According to Lysenko, the process of withdrawal is still continuing. OSCE representatives were to verify the relocated armaments on sites on Thursday.
OSCE Calls the Situation with Withdrawal of Heavy Armaments Unsatisfactory
The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe considers the process of withdrawal of heavy weapons in the Donbas to be unsatisfactory,
OSCE SMM Deputy Head Alexander Hug said at a briefing as reported by Ukrainski Novyny.
He added that the observers continued visiting sites with heavy weapons on both sides of the demarcation line confirming that the situation remained unsatisfactory as certain weapons were absent in storage locations.
According to Hug, the observers observe manoeuvres of heavy weapons in areas where they should not be.
Russia Says It's Bombing Syria for the Sake of a "Political Settlement"
The Russian Foreign Ministry assures that all the activities of the Russian Federation in Syria are aimed at a political settlement of the conflict, the official representative of the ministry, Maria Zakharova, announced as reported by "RIA Novosti.
"I would like to stress once again, that all the Russia's efforts in the Syrian direction are subordinated to the ultimate goal of finding a political solution to the conflict in the country," Zakharova said.